FCC Grants Dish Network Permission To Market Wireless Service
Dish Network may soon enter the realm of wireless service providers. The US Federal Communications Commission has granted Dish Network Corp.’s proposal to offer smartphone service, according to the FCC. As the nation’s second-largest satellite television provider, Dish needed FCC approval to offer a wireless service that would compete against the largest mobile provider in the US, Verizon Wireless, and the second largest wireless service provider AT&T Inc. Dish is hoping to decrease its dependence on satellite television, where it is losing subscribers.
“The FCC has removed outdated regulations and granted terrestrial flexibility for most of the AWS-4 band,” Dish senior vice president and deputy general counsel Jeff Blum said in a Dec. 11 statement. “The Commission has taken an important step toward facilitating wireless competition and innovation, and fulfilling the goals of the National Broadband Plan.”
Dish approached the FCC earlier this year, requesting permission to use 40 MHz of the wireless spectrum in the 2 GHz band for a 4G LTE wireless broadband network. The FCC deferred granting Dish a waiver in March, choosing instead to vote on an official rule change.
Last month FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said he was in favor of Dish’s plans to provide wireless service because it would add competition in the wireless industry. In order for Dish’s request to be approved, however, the company’s network would need limits in order to prevent interference with other airwaves.
According to a Dec. 11 email from FCC spokesman Justin Cole, Genachowski’s proposal to regulate Dish’s airwaves passed in a 5-0 vote. According to Reuters, some restrictions will still apply, although it is not yet clear exactly what those restrictions will be.
Dish, however, objected to the proposal’s limits, stating the restrictions will interfere with its ability to competitively enter the wireless business.
“The commission has taken an important step toward facilitating wireless competition and innovation,” Blum said in an e-mailed statement. “Following a more thorough review of the order and its technical details, Dish will consider its strategic options and the optimal approach to put this spectrum to use for the benefit of consumers.”
Various companies, including Sprint, AT&T and Google, are reportedly interested in accessing Dish’s airwaves. Sprint is rumored to have asked Dish to partner with it last week, exchanging Dish’s unused airwaves for access to Sprint’s wireless service customer base.
“Following a more thorough review of the order and its technical details,” Blum said, “Dish will consider its strategic options and the optimal approach to put this spectrum to use for the benefit of consumers.”